Articles by

Bethany Erickson

12/15/18 9:00am

MesaEditor’s Note: Recently, MoneyWise revealed its list of the 40 most frugal and friendly places to retire. In a bid to provide an idea of what housing inventory is available in these cities and towns, we’re taking a look at listings in each of the cities on the list.

Not everyone can spend $1 million or more on a second home, even if it’s with the idea that eventually you’ll retire there. So when MoneyWise’s list of 40 places to retire that are more budget-friendly came out, we were curious — what kind of homes could you find in these towns?

Last week, we looked at the 35th city on the list — Metairie, Louisiana. This week, we look at Mesa, Arizona, and found three great homes — all for less than $300,000.

“Mesa offers modest living, with a median rent below $900 and homes selling at around $150,000,” MoneyWise said. “This is suburban living in a dry climate, and having a swimming pool nearby is a must.”

“The city is known for being well-organized, with its grid of streets that are easy to understand and navigate,” this week’s entry added. “Nightlife is robust and healthcare resources are excellent. The Arizona Medical Training Institute is located in Mesa.”

TOWNHOME CLOSE TO EVERYTHING IN A GREAT COMMUNITY

Price: $182,000

For less than $200,000, this downsizer-friendly two-bedroom, two-bath townhome packs a lot of punch. It’s the beneficiary of an open floor plan and strategic placement of a large glass door that makes the whole great room feel huge. (more…)

12/09/18 9:00am

Miami ShoresWhen we look for historical shelters every week, we always find some beautiful homes with interesting stories — and that’s true this week as well, with the Simmons Estate in Miami Shores, Florida.

It’s always fun to go back and look at 1920s architecture — the era embraced luxury in a way that was potentially over the top, but so well crafted that to this day newer construction often attempts to emulate the grandeur.

And that’s true with 257 NE 91 St., a gorgeous Mediterranean built in 1925 and designed by the nationally-acclaimed architects Kiehnel and Elliot, whose work includes the Coconut Grove Playhouse, the Carlyle Hotel in Miami Beach, and the downtown Miami Post Office. (more…)

12/08/18 10:00am

MetairieEditor’s Note: Recently, MoneyWise revealed its list of the 40 most frugal and friendly places to retire. In a bid to provide an idea of what housing inventory is available in these cities and towns, we’re taking a look at listings in each of the cities on the list.

Not everyone can spend $1 million or more on a second home, even if it’s with the idea that eventually you’ll retire there. So when MoneyWise’s list of 40 places to retire that are more budget-friendly came out, we were curious — what kind of homes could you find in these towns?

Last week, we looked at the 36th city on the list — Augusta, Georgia. This week, we look at Metairie, Louisiana, and found some great options from anywhere around $50,000 all the way to $549,000.

“Despite having less than 150,000 residents, Metairie is a very diverse place,” MoneyWise said. “This town offers a robust nightlife and a very low cost of living. The median household income is around $52,000. Locals consider this town to be a good compromise between big-city and suburban living.”

“Metairie is located just a 15-minute drive from New Orleans, so you can get a taste of the city any time you want,” the entry adds. “There is one healthcare center in Metairie, but access to New Orleans gives you a wide variety of healthcare providers.”

SPACIOUS CONDO WITH SURPRISING PRICE

Price: $50,000

Our first example of what you can find in Metairie if you’re really, really wanting to be frugal. And surprisingly, we found that being on a budget doesn’t have to mean borderline livable. (more…)

12/02/18 9:00am

schoolIn our quest to find the most interesting historical shelters, we fully admit to being suckers for a good school house conversion, and this example in the historic mining village of Hillsboro, New Mexico, does not disappoint.

The school was built in the 1800s, listing agent Crystal Lay with Steinborn & Associates Real Estate said, and it taught generations of elementary school students in the mining town.

More recently, it’s been beautifully renovated, and the sellers took pains to incorporate wonderful details into that renovation.

“The amazing original details including the interior tin roof tiles, the chalkboards, and the windows have been preserved and keep the authenticity of the school that is incorporated into the ample living space,” Lay said. (more…)

12/01/18 4:00am

AugustaEditor’s Note: Recently, MoneyWise revealed its list of the 40 most frugal and friendly places to retire. In a bid to provide an idea of what housing inventory is available in these cities and towns, we’re taking a look at listings in each of the cities on the list.

Not everyone can spend $1 million or more on a second home, even if it’s with the idea that eventually you’ll retire there. So when MoneyWise’s list of 40 places to retire that are more budget-friendly came out, we were curious — what kind of homes could you find in these towns?

Last week, we looked at the 37th city on the list — Torrance, California. This week, we look at Augusta, Georgia, and found some great options for — get this — less than $300,000.

“Augusta is a gem of Southern living. It is an inexpensive city, with a median household income of about $38,000,” Moneywise said. “Augusta’s crime rate is low and the town is rich in Southern history, and offers a wide variety of shopping and nightlife options.”

“With its warm weather and two medical centers that focus exclusively on women’s healthcare, Augusta sets a high standard for retirement living on this list,” the article added.
(more…)

11/25/18 9:00am

PhiladelphiaWhen Philadelphia lawyer Joseph Hopkinson and his wife Emily settled into their home on Spruce Street in 1794, the country was still in its infancy. Construction on the home itself had been completed just three years prior, by cabinet maker Jesse Williams.

Hopkinson saw the country grow from a collection of colonies that banded together for independence from England to a country, watching his father, Francis, sign the Declaration of Independence. Francis Hopkinson was also credited with designing the first Stars and Stripes during the Revolutionary War and later served as governor of Pennsylvania.

But the junior Hopkinson would forge his own place in U.S. history, penning the lyrics to “Hail, Columbia,” the first national anthem — a song that would remain so until the 1890s — at his home in 1798, using a melody written by Philip Phile 10 years prior.

They would raise their 14 children in the home, which also has its place in the Library of Congress, where one can read about the composition and use of “Hail, Columbia,” and also see photos of the home from decades ago.

Nowadays, the song is still in use as the official anthem for the Vice President, but before that, it was the anthem for the President, before it was replaced by “Hail to the Chief” officially during the Truman administration.

And now, 227 years later, the home is for sale, ready for its next family of history lovers to come in and continue to maintain and love the home.

The 4,100-square-foot, five-bedroom, five-bath home has been so well maintained (and its history honored), that you can fairly envision Hopkinson putting quill to paper.Three stories high, plus a dormer fourth floor, the home immediately signals its history with a historical marker just to the left of the blue front door.

A 30-foot long hallway leads to two sitting rooms with wood-burning fireplaces surrounded by floor-to-ceiling moldings. That hallway ends with what Williams called “the piazza,” back in 1791.

(more…)

11/24/18 9:00am
Torrance

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Editor’s Note: Recently, MoneyWise revealed its list of the 40 most frugal and friendly places to retire. In a bid to provide an idea of what housing inventory is available in these cities and towns, we’re taking a look at listings in each of the cities on the list.

Not everyone can spend $1 million or more on a second home, even if it’s with the idea that eventually you’ll retire there. So when MoneyWise’s list of 40 places to retire that are more budget-friendly came out, we were curious — what kind of homes could you find in these towns?

Last week, we looked at the 38th city on the list — The Woodlands, Texas. This week, we look at Torrance, California, and found you could find a great selection well within the mid-$300,000 range to just slightly more than the median price of $600,000.

So why is Torrance on the list? In short, it’s close to Los Angeles, but provides that smaller community feel that some might desire, the publication said.

“If you like the idea of living near Los Angeles but would prefer living in a smaller community, Torrance could be just the place you’re looking for!” MoneyWise said. “This town is home to California’s famous sunny weather and promises easy access to nearby beaches.”

“It’s a little pricier than some of the communities we have listed so far, with a median home value of $600,000,” the piece continued. “Median household income is just below $80,000. With 15 healthcare centers, Torrance is a good place for medical care.”

While we can’t get you amazing views or ocean sightings in this price range (that’s going to cost you a bit more), we do have three options.

LOCK-AND-LEAVE, BUDGET-FRIENDLY CONDO

Price: $369,000

At $369,000, this fully-remodeled condo may be cozy, but it’s also a great lock-and-leave option for snowbirds who prefer the West Coast to Florida or the Gulf Coast.  

A new shower, new hardwood floors, paint, and brand-new stainless steel appliances make this nearly turnkey. Higher ceilings and an open floor plan make great use of the smaller space, and the two bedrooms are generously sized for the square footage. (more…)

11/18/18 9:00am

VirginiaWhen you begin looking for houses of historical significance, especially on the week of Thanksgiving, you often turn to the places where the country was born. For this week’s historical shelter, we found a Virginia home owned by a Revolutionary War soldier turned inn owner, with ties to a founding father and future president.

The Green Hill House, located in Salem, Virginia, was built in 1776. But the land it sits on was granted to William Walton in 1774, by none other than the Governor of Virginia — Thomas Jefferson.

Jefferson granted 1,200 acres along the Roanoke River in what would eventually be Salem to Walton, who built the brick home we’re featuring this week. About 10 years later, Walton obtained a license to open an inn, and became a popular stopover for people heading to what would become the Louisiana Territories.

It is rumored that Jefferson frequented Green Hill House a few times, too.

By 1845, Walton sold the home to his son-in-law, Robert Craig — who was a U.S. congressman from 1829 to 1841. Craig is credited with giving the property its current name.

Nowadays, the property sits adjacent to Green Hill Park, which was once part of the original 1,200 acres in the land grant.

The home has been well-maintained and has kept in mind its historical provenance with the updates you see. The main floor boasts a grand ballroom with fireplaces and three chandeliers, a full bathroom, a formal dining room, a family room, and cathedral ceilings in the now-gourmet kitchen and hearth room — perfect spaces for a family Thanksgiving for any future owner.

(more…)